Orlando RobbinsBorn in Maine, Orlando Robbins left home at the age of seventeen and headed out west. Eventually ending up in the gold fields of Idaho, in 1864 he became the deputy sheriff of Idaho City. 
 
With the Civil War taking place in the east, the miners were polarized into Union and Confederate camps. Robbins’ major job was separating and arresting drunken miners supporting their individual cause.
 
As Independence Day approached, the Confederate supporters said they were not going to allow any Yankee sing the “Star Spangled Banner.” Now, Robbins, a Union supporter, was determined that no one was going to tell him what to do. So, on July 4, 1864 Orlando Robbins walked into a tavern crowded with southern sympathizers, climbed on a pool table, pulled his two pistols, and with the tavern in complete silence started singing, “Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light.” After finishing, he walked out, and the crowd parted like the Red Sea for Moses. 
 
From deputy sheriff of Idaho City, Robbins went on to be deputy sheriff of Boise, and then United States marshal. In 1868 a gun battle had been going on for weeks between two mining operations in Silver City. Sent by the governor to settle things, Robbins did it in one day. In 1876 six bandits held up the Silver City stage. Robbins had them all in jail within two days. At the age of 46, Robbins covered 1,280 miles in just 13 days to catch outlaw Charley Chambers. When he was in his 60’s he was still a lawman dealing with outlaws one third his age.
 
Truly, Orlando Robbins was as great a hero as any of the more famous Old West lawmen.

Filed under: Old West History

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